Sunday, January 29, 2012
And here's the blurb...
Valentine’s Day is not always a bed a roses…
I'm still working on fine-tuning the description. I also have to re-work the author bio, and compose something for the end of the book. I'm thinking about just putting my website and e-mail address. I was going to list "Fractured Facade" but then everytime I write another book I'll have to upload a new version, so I think if I direct readers to the website they could see not only the other books I've written, but read my bio, etc.
The target date to upload is February 1st...fingers crossed.
Re-did the cover again...going with this one instead!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I'm excited to announce I do believe I have completed my short story entitled, "The Valentine's Day Curse." My goal is to have it up on Amazon sometime during the first week of February, so I have to get my butt in gear. If I wasn't an independent author, there's no way in hell I would reach that goal.
Over the next couple of days I will be busy formatting, creating the cover, writing a synopsis and tag-line, editing my website, creating a Facebook Author page and composing an End Stuff to include at the end of my books. Yup, it's a lot of work, but it's my work. I have complete control and final say, and I couldn't have it any other way.
I still haven't found the perfect red rose with huge thorns on its stem that I can mangle for the cover, but I know I will.
Not this one...too pretty...
Monday, January 23, 2012
Maybe I've been reading Joe Konrath's blog too much, but after careful consideration I have decided to pass on entering Fractured Facade in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. The grand prize is a publishing contract through Penguin Books, as well as a $15,000 advance.
When I first considered possibly entering, I clicked on the icon for more information and immediately received an email from CreateSpace, thanking me for contacting them. CreateSpace is the self-publishing and print on-demand services arm of Amazon. The email listed all the benefits I would receive by self-publishing with them, but there was not one mention of the ABNA contest. I thought, "Aha! This so-called contest is just a scam to get authors to self-publish with them." A quick Google search revealed ABNA is a legitimate contest, but I'm sure the 9,998 entrants who do not win, will forever be spammed with emails from CreateSpace urging them to create a book with them. Pass.
It's not that I feel my book would never stand a chance of winning, and that $15,000 is an amount to sneeze at, but frankly, I'm not interested in a contract with Penguin. Maybe three years ago I would have been salivating to have someone from there even glance at my manuscript, but not any longer.
I love being an independent author. I love being my own agent and my own publisher. I love only answering to myself and my readers. I love that I can set my own deadlines. In fact, I've put my research on hold for the paranormal novel I planned on writing next, so I could focus on a short story that's been yelling at me to write instead. It's an "anti-Valentine" tale that I hope to have up on Amazon before February 14th. There's no way I'd be able to do that had I been "traditionally" published.
If there are any authors who want to enter ABNA you better hurry. The submission period is open now until February 5th, but they're only accepting the first 5,000 entries each in general fiction and young adult. Best of luck to you!
Friday, January 20, 2012
I tried again, and this time discovered those index cards that a lot of authors use to "plot" their story, did not work for me. In the trash.
Next up, writing in third person. Didn't feel it. For the subject matter it wasn't natural. It didn't flow. Delete everything.
I sat there knowing I had a story inside, but couldn't pull it out of me. The mood in my office was not right. I needed to change things. I got rid of the energy saving light bulb in my desk lamp and replaced it was a 40 watt soft one. I found a lilac candle and lit it. I needed music, but nothing that I would sing along to. I pulled out Liszt.
I cleared my head, took a deep breath, let the music flow through me, and suddenly, it came. By the time the CD came to an end I was almost half-way through with my tale. Next up is Berlioz. I figure by the time Mozart joins me I will be finished with the first draft.
I wonder how other writers set their mood...
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
A couple of days ago I posted full versions of some of the songs so be sure to check them out here.
Thanks again to all the artists who participated, Ron Bergeron of Star City Fame , River Laker of Roanoke Public Libraries, and everyone who showed up. You guys rock!
Sunday, January 15, 2012
One of the best gifts I asked for, and received this Christmas, besides the Zumba2 game for Wii, was a vinyl/cassette to CD recorder. Best...invention...evah! This weekend was the first time I actually had a spare couple of hours to fiddle around with it. First thing I did was comb through my huge collection of records. Since the manual states that the needle only lasts for approximately 50 hours (what does it do after that, explode?) I thought I would need to be discriminating with my choices.
Naturally, the first records I chose were ones that I couldn't easily, or at all, get on CD. I chose The Leather Nun, The Swans and a Patti Smith Group bootleg. When I slid the bootleg out of it's cardboard case I found another little surprise...a press picture autographed by Lenny Kaye. I don't even remember where/when/how I got it, but he wrote, "Fight the Good Fight!" Love always, Lenny Kaye.
I checked the first CD to make sure I did it correctly and was astounded at the clear quality of sound. I expected to hear a lot of static and/or muddled audio, but it was just fine. I always took care of my records so maybe that's why. My compilation tapes may be another story.
The next two LP's, the Swans' "The Burning World" and The Leather Nun's "Alive" were records I played constantly in the 80's. I was introduced to the bands from my second husband, a Dane who happened to be a musician and author. He was a good musician, but I couldn't tell you about his books since except for the dedication to me in one of them, they were all in Danish.
Anyway, as I began recording them I found myself actually weeping. Yes, weeping. Memories, good and bad, brought me back to a past life. A life where the only pain I endured was of the mental kind, and usually self-inflicted. I find listening to music is more potent in jogging my mind into action than looking at any photographs would be. Music is my muse. And this was exactly what I needed.
When I wrote my first book. I always had music playing in the background. My band of choice was the Kings of Leon. With so many revisions I was fortunate they kept releasing new albums. Yes, I still say albums even if they're CD's. I've been pondering what music would be accompanying me on my short story journey. Deciding that is just as important, or more important to me, as creating an outline is to other writers.
Based on the subject of the short story, a Valentine, well actually an anti-Valentine one, both The Leather Nun and the Swans fit the bill perfectly. I'm very excited to get underway so if you are wondering where I am "hiding" in the next couple of weeks, hopefully I'll be hiding behind a keyboard, that this time will not have blood spilled onto it.
"When, When We Were Young
We Had No History
So Nothing To Lose
Meant We Could Choose
Choose What We Wanted Then
Without Any Fear
Or Thought Of Revenge"
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The Roanoke Times' "The Back Cover" is running a guest blog post from me on the new South County Library...
"Sure, I was a little annoyed that the new South County library meant I would have to drive a couple miles further than I used to. And yes, a little peeved that there wouldn’t even be a drop-off box at the old 419 headquarters, but I hoped I would fall in love with the new one so deeply that those other annoyances would become easily-overlooked, minor inconveniences. Alas, after Friday’s visit, I’m sad to report I’m not in love."
To read the rest of the post, "Not everyone is enamored with new library" click here.
From all the wonderful reviews I've read about the new library, I have a feeling my sentiments probably differ than most. But I feel I have valid points, so please read on and let me know what you think.
Here's some photos I took that relate to the post...No, the photo on top of this page is not for a coffee shop. That's part of the library...so is this one...
These are the drop-off slots, behind the pick-up window, in the one lane roadway...
I panicked when I first saw this stairway. My knees ached just looking at it!
Low bookcases might look nice, but totally impractical for some folks if we must bend for a "Hot Pick" on the bottom shelf...
But the kiddies will definitely love it!
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
One more thanks to River Laker for organizing, and the library, for hosting such a unique event. And a big thanks to Ron Bergeron from Star City Fame for not only doing such an excellent job taping the bands, but for posting them as well on his You Tube Channel.
A big raspberry to the local journalists for missing a great show, especially the weekly newspaper that took money for an advertisement for the event, yet didn't think it was "worthy" enough to check out. Oh well, I guess their reporters had to rest up to cover the Live Nativity, or some other yawn story, because ten bands playing in a Roanoke library must happen every December, and is not quite as interesting as reporting on a line of cars staring at an angel on the side of a building. What can I say? It's Roanoke!
I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I have and by all means the next time you see these bands performing locally go check them out. Support our local musicians, writers, and artists, will ya!
Monday, January 9, 2012
I caught up with Elena DeRosa, local writer and blog reader, last week. She has been a joy to email back and forth with. Thank you Elena for taking the time to answer these questions.
Look for a guest post from Elena on the new South County Library later this week.
Tell me about your book and what inspired it.
"Fractured Facade is my debut novel. It’s not the first book I wanted to write, but the one I had to write. My father’s mysterious death and the subsequent events inspired me to write a cautionary tale.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who has found themselves in a child/parent role reversal with a parent who has lost their spouse. The surviving spouse is often thrust into this new “single world,” an unfamiliar world where some people create facades to mask their true intentions. Sadly, loneliness can make an otherwise intelligent person do stupid things.
My hope is to prevent people from making some of the same mistakes as the “characters” in my book have."
Read the rest of the interview here!
Thursday, January 5, 2012
And if you're like me, and many others, you probably spent the next couple of days downloading anything free you could. This includes games. And in my case, I went for the Kindle because it was easy to read outdoors and, I wanted, "just an eReader, nothing else...I don't want to become distracted." Haha! Yeah, free games are available for Kindle. I probably have all of them. And I was right, I am easily distracted. Luckily the thrill of them wore off after a couple of days.
I bought my Kindle a couple of months ago, right before I published Fractured Facade. Since I had no plans to print up hard copies, I figured the least I could do was have my own book on my own eReader. I downloaded it from Smashwords, and it looks great. So it was back to looking for good eBooks from other authors to read.
I quickly filled up my eLibrary with many free classics, many of which I already had on my physical book shelves. I think I now have every word written by one of my favorite authors, Edgar Allen Poe. Since I downloaded all his works, I believe I have only read one, "Annabelle Lee." It's not because I don't want to read more from Poe, but until my Kindle can download more hours in a day for me, I'm not able to read as much as I would like.
After I began downloading other free eBooks, I realized the mantra, "If it's free, it's for me!" definitely did not apply to all eBooks. Now don't get me wrong, there are excellent free eBooks available as many are made free by an author as a promotional tool. I recently downloaded some free J.A. Konrath books to see what all the hub-bub was. Of course, I haven't found the time to read any yet, but when I do, and if I like what I read, I will buy some of his other books, so his promotion would have worked. Now Konrath was a name I recognized, but how do I find other authors worthy of a download?
Since I could check out most well known authors' books from my local library, I prefer to use my eReader to check out independent authors, but I am discriminating. Before I download a book, even if it's free, I read the description, sample it, and check out the reviews. I've found the best way to find a good book is through word of mouth. There's also a site called 5-Star Books which lists by genre books by independent authors that have received five stars. Fractured Facade is listed, and it's not free. Be advised, I believe most of the books featured are not free. And they shouldn't be.
Recently I read a post on the Kindle Community Boards by someone who proudly claimed they had downloaded over 3,000 free books over a weekend. That's insane. They will never read all those books, especially if they didn't pay anything for them.
Have fun downloading free eBooks, but once in a while throw an author a bone and pay for their book. $4.99 is less than a fast food meal or a fancy cup of coffee. Besides, if you pay for it, it's more likely you'll actually read it, and that's what an author wants.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Sunday, January 1, 2012
During all my Brooklyn years, I never needed, or wanted, to step into the 64th precinct, although I always admired the brick facade flanked by Greek columns. The original copper signs turned green, and intricate wrought iron black bars framing the windows, give it a distinctive, warm, “Old Brooklyn” vibe. Not so, the inside.
We entered the cracked-walled, paint-peeling, hot house, and was met by a less than cooperative staff who greeted us with indifference, and then served us a nice helping of incompetence. I walked over to the desk sergeant, who didn’t bother looking up from his desk.
"Gotta wait over there. She'll let you know where to go,” he said pointing to a woman sitting at a small desk. She didn’t bother to look up either, not at us, and not once at the Korean family who relayed the attack they had experienced as they waited for a bus.
Eventually, another woman plopped down at the small desk too. After I explained the situation, she took my papers and went to the property room right behind the desk. She knocked on the door. There was no answer. She looked as if she tried to turn the door knob, but said it was locked.
"He's not here right now,” the woman said. “You have to come back." It was 4:00pm.
"When will he be back?" I asked.
"Not until tomorrow."
I tried to reason with her, explaining what we had already endured, and that we needed to get back to Virginia. She couldn’t care less.
She handed me back the papers, and said, “I said you had to come back tomorrow.”
My husband saw my jaw and hands clench. He cautioned me in a low voice, “Don’t freak out.”
I stomped over to the desk sergeant and said, “I need to speak to the detective who was at my father’s house.”
Still not looking up from his desk, the sergeant asked, “Who’s that?”
“I don’t know if he’s here.”
“Then I’ll just wait until he gets here.”
He called upstairs. Luckily, the detective was there, and I wouldn’t have to spend my night on a hard bench. As soon as I saw, who I assumed was O’Keefe, hobble down the stairs, I ran towards him, introduced myself, and explained the situation. The detective took the voucher, went behind the desk and asked me, “Why can’t you get the possessions?”
I replied, “They told me the property clerk was gone for the day and the room was locked.”
O’Keefe went over to the same door, turned the knob and walked in. Out of nowhere the property clerk materialized and entered the room behind the detective. They brought out one plastic gallon-sized zip-loc bag which contained some legal papers and a piece of cardboard with a couple of cards taped to it. There was no money, no credit cards, and no bank card. My suspicions of foul play had been raised even more.
“You need to open an investigation,” I demanded.
O’Keefe looked at me like I was nuts. I looked back at him like he was nuts, and pointed out what I thought was obvious, “Clearly there’s items missing from my father’s wallet.”
"Did you look all around the house?" O’Keefe asked.
I was speechless for a moment and then replied, “Well, duh, that's all we've done. You’re missing the point. I’m talking about what my father always kept in his wallet. There's no way in hell he would not have one single dollar on him. Where are his credit cards, his bank cards? Obviously this is a crime scene.”
The detective was not convinced.
“Look, either you’re going to launch an investigation, or I'm bringing it to the District Attorney’s Office. Someone stole from him, and I'm sure it wasn't this precinct."
I almost choked on that last sentence. I remembered the attending police officer had told me over the phone besides two wallets, he packed up my father’s watch. There was only one wallet and no watch. The property clerk suddenly said, “You know, there might be another bag back there,” as he headed back into the property room. He emerged with another plastic bag that contained $200, credit cards, a bloodied watch, but no other wallet. Surprise, surprise. Crooked cops? Incompetent cops? How stupid did they think we were? Did they think we were dumb hillbillies from Virginia?
For more info on Fractured Facade please visit my website: www.elenaderosa.com